Good Research Paper About Older Adulthood: Transitions In

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Aging, Development, Psychology, Adulthood, Life, Adult, Time, Human

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/11/05

Human Development

Human Development


Life course transitions in human development in the older adulthood stage includes both the “time on” and “time off” influences according to biology, cognitive, psychological, and emotional issues. The normal development of the on time factor relates to social, biological, and physical development norms. The differences of how the time off aspects of this particular aspect of the older adulthood stage of human development aligns to particular cultural groups in some aspects about beliefs concerned with aging, and the manner families care for their older family members. This stage of human development also occurs decline of both physical and mental health and the policies affecting healthcare access (Manuck, Jennings, Rabin, & Baum, 2000).
Coser (1997) defines sociological aspects of human development as both a group interaction dynamic unfolding within the individual experience. Therefore, the identity of the older adult transition developmentally remains in part determined by identify of self in relation to the identity with a group socially, in particularly within the family unit. Further, sociology theorists studying human interaction models occurring and reoccurring in varieties of historical and cultural locales stresses a fundamental continuity between nature or biological aspects and society. In this, the sociological aspects of the transitional development of the older adult in this timed of sector proves more complex understanding than the biological process. In doing so, this makes sociology the master science through intentional exploration provides opportunities of discovery of laws governing such human development within societal aspects. Other considerations for discourse in the following scholastic exploration, assessment, and discourse addresses grandparent as a part of this life stage development.


Review of the literature and the biological effects on the older adult transitional stage of time off considers an important factor connected to how people age differently during this stage of time off. According to Brody, Brock, and Williams (1987) there exist, “antecedents for this change differ in timing, intensity, and scope and, therefore, create individually different backgrounds for the tasks of old age.” At the same time, “In general, however, there are three domains to consider.” The first connects to the physical losses of the biological determinants causing experiences of physical impairments, with an older person’s health becoming problematic on both a personal and social level (as cited by Featherman, Lerner, & Perlmutter, 1994, p. 69) .
Next, according to Bumpass (1991) both social losses and stresses appear accumulative for the typical older adult. “Demographic data show, for instance, that major life changes both in terms of numbers and accumulations continue into the aging years (as cited by Featherman, Lerner, & Perlmutter, 1994, p. 69).” Further, as explained by Featherman, Lerner, and Perlmutter (1994), “There is a rise from the rather low percentages of loss of spouse, child, or sibling for individuals in their 40s, to over 50% for over-60-year-olds, to 70% for over-70-year-olds.” Additionally, this advent of “retirement and losses in social roles have an impact on the extent and intensity of the elderly's social network.” Typical to Western societies’ cultural norms there are few provisions for “opportunities for new social roles for older adults.” Finally, the biological conditions affecting “older adults confronted with adjusting to the idea of time running out (creates) new tasks for their understanding of self and sense of life (p. 69).”
The dynamics of these inherent conditions affecting the quality of life of older adult human development connected to their time off stage considers the effective of the biological processes further to cognitive abilities and this effect on their social interactions. The integral aspects of the cognitive issues that occur at this stage of human development go hand in hand with both psychological and emotional fall out for individuals in this stage of life.


Typically, aging affects cognitive abilities of every human being according to the literature (Schulz & Schulz, 2000). Again, as related to this time off stage in this process connects to what Featherman et al, (1994) explain, “ (Accordingly) inter-individual differences in aging, antecedents for this change differ in timing, intensity, and scope and, therefore, create individually different backgrounds for the developmental tasks of old age (p. 69 ).” Biomarkers provide valuable measurement tools predicting which person exhibits cognitive symptoms typical with development of Alzheimer’s.
According to one study, Hadler (2011) reports it focused on exploring the connection of such biomarkers to developing Alzheimer’s found, “All (participants) had complained of insidiously progressive cognitive impairment, but none qualified even for ‘Possible’ Alzheimer’s by the old criteria.” In the 3-year follow up on the participants “28 percent qualified for ‘Possible’ or ‘Probable,’ but none had definite Alzheimer’s.” Further, when a “biomarker is present in too many (older adults) who didn’t progress and absent in too many who did to justify using it for prognosis and therefore for labeling or reassuring patients (p. 167).” [Sic]
Cognitive control of the average aging older adult according to findings of Heckhausen and Schulz (1993, 1995, and 1999) as well as Schulz and Heckhausen (1999) connects with the generic human characteristic desire for producing primary control over their environment they find self (as cited by Schulz & Schulz, 2000, p. 122). This is a direct example of the control theory of Rothbaum, Weisz, and Snyder (1982), “in which they conceived of control as a two-process construct consisting of primary and secondary control.” While the focus of primary control remains centered on controlling specifics of the external circumstances of the environment, the secondary control focuses on the self by attempting achieving desired changes immediately within self. While both the controls may involve cognitive actions, the primary control usually derives from individual behavior engaged in the external world. “In contrast, secondary control is predominantly characterized in terms of cognitive processes localized within the individual, such as setting goals, adjusting expectancies and making causal attributions (as cited by Schulz & Schulz, 2000, p. 122).” [Sic] The fact remains the cognitive processes of older aging adult cognitive abilities undergoes changes directly connected to the biological underpinnings of aging as described in this section of the discovery and discourse of this scholastic exploration of the subject.


Directly consequential to the biological differences in gender according to human development stage attached to the older aging adult, gender does make a difference throughout human development including during the time off dynamic. Leventhal and Leventhal (2000) report, “Not only are there differences between the sexes in longevity, but throughout the life span there are many other biological, psychological, and social gender distinctions.” A clear example offered by Leventhal and Leventhal (2000) looks at the gender differences according to diet as well as exercise influencing behavior according to desired physical characteristics. These behaviors “may persist throughout the life span for women but may decline with age for men.” Further to this analysis are studies showing the difference between male and female brain studies reveal the biological differences due to gender remain partly based on hormone levels affecting the manner female and male brains’ aggressive circuitry work differently (Abedi, 2012).
Gender differences in other literature provided by Andreano and Cahill (2009) report findings revealing gender differences affecting verbal, spatial, autobiographical, and emotional memory. The research concludes these differences lay in how gender related hormones influence stress levels in people and how the interaction of the gender related hormones affect a male and female individual ability in four different areas of memory. Females exhibit advantages in this study when it comes to overall memory abilities.
The gender differences among older aging adults in terms of , “Complaints and reports of symptoms and the seeking of medical care also reflect concerns about health, illness, and longevity” and according to Leventhal (1994), “(Are) described in the medical literature for centuries (as cited by Leventhal & Leventhal, 2000). Empirical studies show this arises more in women than among men with attribution of the difference connected to socialization norms. At the same time, according to Leventhal and Leventhal (2000), “Yet there may be sex specific biological processes such as physical differences in immune resistance or hormonal responsivity, and psychosocial processes (including) differential exposure to environmental hazards, and different health habits such as smoking, that are responsible for or that modulate these behaviors for both men and women (p. 31).”
This debate strengthens as reports over the past two to three decades show larger numbers of females smoking tobacco thus, increasing incidences of lung cancer in the female population in general (while remaining the most common cancer of men). The most common form of cancer among women in 1987 was breast but today lung cancer emerges as the most common (p. Leventhal & Leventhal, 2000, p. 31). Brain differences according to gender prove a biological explanation as well.


The biological connection to the psychological changes of the time off stage occurring in the human developmental changes occurring in the older aging adult remains based on the individual. Collectively as reminded by Cohler (1983), ‘Theorists like Erickson (1963) posited how developmental tasks concept of ego integrity.” Psychological adjustments typically arise with the onset of retirement. This happens creating a sense of loss for many individuals. Adding to the psychological impact comes from the increased health impairments while the individual realization of this situational experience of this time of life proves how, “one's own finitude prove major tasks and reorientations (as cited by Featherman et al, 1994, p. 69).” Further, according to Cohler (1983), as well as Cohler and Boxer (1984) this aspect connects to self-orientation in performing previously common tasks (as cited by is no wonder that the importance of interdependence pales in light of the growing salience of personal autonomy and agency in coping with the demands of the later years (Featherman et al, 1994, p. 69). Cohler (1983) reports on research supporting complaints particular to elderly women about continued responsibility to family as psychologically challenging (as cited by Featherman et al, 1994, p. 69). Other studies reported by Rosenmayr and Köckeis (1965) offer this phenomenon as the "intimacy at a distance (as cited by Featherman et al, 1994, p. 69).”
This is not to negate the continued importance of social integration for the well-being of the elderly and the need for social contact in old age. The need for support, however, often seems overemphasized at the cost of the need for autonomy. (Featherman et al, 1994, p. 69)
The psychological ramifications of this development stage of the older aging adult pragmatically concern its relationship to the emotional state arising from the experience. This remains compounded by gender among the older aging adult (Leventhal & Leventhal, 2000).


Emotional changes in the older aging adult human development of the time off stage according to Stryker (1980), Wells and Stryker (1980), and Wells and Stryker (1988) show emotional stability clearly connect to opportunities for change. “Thus, one important aspect of the linkage between human stability and opportunities for change is the extent of stability found in positional or structural aspects of an individual's life (as cited by Featherman et al, 1994, p. 175).” Further, according to Ryder (1965) asserts the suggestion occupational role commitment, family, a residence, as well as engaging in a specific way of life, individual experiences result in less opportunities for life changes (as cited by Featherman et al, 1994, p. 175).
In addition, Super et al (1957) reported on the number of theoretically based discussions about the connection to life changes rooted in life-cycle changes. This attaches to the end of a career causing both psychological and emotional changes with the onset of retirement. Consequently, for the older adult and the loss of their main vocational activity and changing their lifestyle prove challenging emotionally as individuals reassess their positon in life (as cited by Featherman et al, 1994, p. 175).
The last forty years of work among developmental psychologists provide explanation about the interconnectivity of the developing self, identity, and society. Erickson (1959) work describes the life-span dynamics of human development including old age. As outlined by Featherman et al, 1994), “Each stage is thought to involve a unique and essential transition or crisis, the resolution of which allows us to pass successfully to the next stage.” Thus, throughout human developmental stages the phases of life shows humans need the ability for incorporating the continuous need for adjusting different contexts, demands, and relationships with their concept of self (p. 175). The cultural underpinnings aligned to this process of human development and the older aging adult show marked differences in cultural beliefs.


With the move away from the agrarian society where family remained the central driving force based on patriarchal precepts in advancing Western cultures proved a shift took place during the Industrial Revolution in cultural attitudes toward the older aging adult position in the family and society in general connected to the time off stage (Farber, 1966). The position of the older adult in the family unit while still holding a positon of respect nonetheless as Farber (1966) discusses, indeed influences the self-identity of the older aging adult. “Thus, the adoption of the machine resulted in sweeping changes in social organization: factories needed laborers who could be more readily obtained in cities than on farms; urbanism and industrialization worked hand in hand to change the structure of American society; industry needed laborers and the cities grew to provide them (p. 410).” Aligned to the modern Western idea of the older aging adult is the precept of assigning them to a non-productive position in society that has alternative culturally based ideas and practices.

One perspective on the positon of the aged older person in the family explains:

That time passes within the country of the old must be underlined. Despite the attention paid in Images of Old Age to the old-old in the nineteenth century, with its daguerreotypes of centenarians, this exhibit does not stress that Americans now expect to live longer than ever before, that two-thirds of all gains in life expectancy in the world have been made since 1900. Nor did we indicate that with added years has come a greater incidence of chronicity, which puts strains on the country's health-care system. Those added years simply did not exist for most people even a century ago. (Achenbaum, 1995, p. 25)
In their study, findings reported by Featherman et al, 1994) showed the rise of loss of sibling, spouse, or child increased to 50 percent in the over 60 year old group and 70 percent in the older adult over age 70 adding to fundamental emotional aspects to this time in life. This added to “retirement and losses in social roles have an impact on the extent and intensity of the elderly's social network.” As already mentioned, culturally aligned to modern Western societies typically shows the positon of the older aging adult lacking opportunities in achieving and maintaining social positions in society. Culturally, this compounds the realization of loss among older adults as they “are confronted with adjusting to the idea of time running out, thus creating new tasks for their understanding of self and sense of life (p. 69).”
Conversely, other cultures especially in the Northern Hemisphere among the Western nations continue viewing the position of the older aging adult in a far more positive manner than the typical Western ideology held particularly by the Anglo communities. According to Williams and Williams (2001), one example shows a more accommodating attitude toward the older aging adult in families among the American Indian community. "The traditional role of grandparenting in the Native-American culture can best be described as more intense than the role of grandparenting in many other cultures (p. 176)." [Sic] This holds true among Hispanic cultural norms assigned to older members of the family unit.
Literature on the typical Hispanic attitude toward older family members shows how parents (and grandparents in particular) allow younger generations the ability for maintaining high levels of cultural continuity (Hofer, Holger, Au, et al, 2014). Crane (2003) explains the pride maintained by Hispanics through engendering “a respectful attitude toward parents and older relatives.” Further to this, looks at men called uncles who often exist as co-fathers, and who is actually a cousin of the father. Calling a male figure uncle expresses respect for the position of this individual in the family unit, “for it signifies in (the individual) mind (the ability for embracing) some important cultural values like respect for (respect for older family members) (p. 103).”


As posited in the introduction, life course transitions in human development in the older adulthood stage includes both the “time on” and “time off” influences according to biology, cognitive, psychological, and emotional issues. The previous scholastic exploration, identification, analysis, and discussion succeeded in outlining the dynamics of the time off stage of the older adult aging process in human development and the realities this increasingly numbered group in 21st century society faces. The findings revealed biologically there are conditions affecting the older aging adult in the time off stage according to gender, cognitive, psychological, and emotional issues. What further exacerbates the time off stage culturally among the Western nation positioned aging older adult shows little opportunity for re-establishing a valuable position in both the family unit and society in general. Studies show where cultural identity as a fundamental identification among particularly non-Anglo groups including American Indian and Hispanics (but not limited to) show honoring older family members creates a defining connection to cultural practices.


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Williams, R. B., & Williams, R. B. (2000). 10: Psychological Factors, Health, and Disease: The Impact of Aging and the Life Cycle. In S. B. Manuck, R. Jennings, B. S. Rabin, & A. Baum (Eds.), Behavior, Health, and Aging (pp. 135-147). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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